Netanyahu flew to Washington to sign deals as Israeli lockdown looms World News

Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to attract the attention of the Israeli public by a recently announced three-week lockdown at a White House ceremony formalizing recent diplomatic successes with two Arab countries.

Hosted by his close aide Donald Trump, Netanyahu will on Tuesday sign agreements with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates that allow countries to establish open trade, direct flights and diplomatic relations, if short of complete peace deals .

“We now have two historic peace agreements with two Arab countries, which were established in a month,” Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting on Sunday before leaving for the United States. “We are at the threshold of a new era.”

Israel has previously only entered into peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, and the US-brokers’ declarations have been seen as a materialism of growing closeness between Israel and some Arab states, largely due to a shared hostility towards Iran. Israeli media speculated that other nations, such as Morocco and Oman, could also make deals. The plane in which Netanyahu flew to DC was painted in Arabic, English and Hebrew with the word Peace.

However, recent agreements have also been dismissed as a pageant. Neither the Gulf monarchy has ever been at war with Israel, and both have already established extensive informal relations.

Writing in the Israeli newspaper Hyderz that Netanyahu has been severely criticized, journalist Chemie Shalev said the country and its two Gulf partners “are just coming out of the closet with factional strategic ties that have been in place for years”.

Trump and Netanyahu argued, “artificially raising the importance of accents and elevating them to a historical position to succeed historically, improve their elections and focus on their monumental failures in the fight against the coronovirus Attract, wage war against the rule of law and efforts to destroy the democracy of their countries. This is shameless propaganda, that’s all. ”

For Palestinians under Israeli occupation, who had long relied on Arab support in their struggle for independence, The The development is also seen as a setback in their efforts to increase international pressure on Israel. The Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shatyeh, said Tuesday would be a “black day” and would “be added to the calendar of Palestinian pain”.

Meanwhile, in Israel, the announcement of a second lockdown left the country wavering, with fears that three weeks of closed trade and confining people to their homes could lead to the destruction of livelihoods. Netanyahu, currently on trial for corruption charges, has faced weekly protests that have been aggravated by those who claim he misrepresented the epidemic.

Anger is growing around whether the 70-year-old leader reopens the country soon and very fast after the lockdown last spring. Now, the country is in a deep recession and faces sanctions that the Finance Ministry estimates will be 6.5bn shekels (£ 1.46bn).

“It was Netanyahu who sent the youth to go out and drink after the ‘success’ of the previous lockdown,” Yehuda Sharoni wrote in the Mariv newspaper on Monday. “But if we put aside the issue of blaming, the question arises whether the business sector, which barely survived the first lockdown, would be able to recover this time from the decision of the lockdown and stand on its feet – Or is it a death blow? ”

With infections increasing to 4,000 per day, Netanyahu said Sunday night that hospitals were “raising the red flag” and that the lockdown was necessary. However, a major concern on Monday morning in Israel was whether the deadline was open.

The Director General of the Ministry of Health, Chezie Levy, predicted that the nationwide lockdown would ease when daily coronavirus infection would reach 1,000 a day, but acknowledged that the final criteria had not yet been set.

“We want to receive 500 cases a day, but it is clear that this will not happen at this time,” Levy told the Cannes public broadcaster.

More than 3,100 people were detected with the virus on Sunday.